Hello all! Nothing like a snow day to help one get a little more caught up. (Who are we kidding? Is being caught up ever really possible?)
“What foundation did you lay for something like that to happen?”
That’s where I left off next-to-last post. If you missed it, you might want to check it out. (Pinky swear: it ain’t all that long. )
My coworker’s question really struck me; to this day I often wonder about it. (That question also inspired the name of my parenting workshop , come to think of it. 😉 ) Those of you who have been hanging around the blog for a while might remember a series of posts I did about Discipline vs. Control. (I’ve linked you to the first. Feel free to take it from there, for a total of five essays on the topic, and maybe a bit more insight into groundwork laid.)
Not that he didn’t help before, but since Hubby took on the role of stay-at-home-dad, he’s taken on many of the responsibilities involved in keeping a house running. He often refers to the house as “his job”. So, he models by doing a lot of the cleaning, along with showing consideration. (That’s an important component, folks. Kind of like the subtext in a story: what’s not written but inherent and working on your psyche as one reads.)
Example: We usually all pitch in after dinner, but on many occasions, when Hubby knows I still have paperwork to do, or errands to run after work, he’ll offer to clean up on his own. Most of the time though, I try to move a little faster and make sure to employ everyone present. If every person does a small part of the bigger job, we all get done more quickly and one person isn’t stuck with all the work, right?
And here’s a bit of an aside, but it ties in: Years ago a friend and I were chatting. Something came up about her husband offering to “help” her do something home- or kid-related. My friend took the offer; she also jumped on the opportunity to point out that whatever had to be done was their responsibility—not hers alone with him jumping in to assist because he thought it was kind, or his duty, or whatever other reason spurred him to offer his time and efforts.
Back to subtext: This was a big shift in perspective for me! Being a doer, I tend to initiate and ask others to take on parts of the job. I quickly grasped the concept my friend illustrated and passed it on to Hubby. Little by little, could it be the sons got this too?
And one more take on this before I get back to the point: When my full-timers were small and my part-timers (a.k.a., stepsons) were still children and spent time here regularly (i.e., weekends, overnighters, etc), the bulk of my time outside the day job—which never lacked for work to bring home—was taken up with two to five boys at any given time. One day, Hubby got a little annoyed with my availability for him being pretty limited. He told me, “I feel like I’m at the bottom of the totem pole.”
My reply came quick (thanks to that chat with my friend 🙂 ). “Actually, I’m at the bottom. You’re probably the next step up. Since, however, we’re supposed to be equal in this relationship and family situation, I’m thinking you should be at bottom next to me.” (Chances are, Hubby wasn’t too thrilled with me at that moment. 😇)
IMHO, this brings me back to a single word: RESPONSIBILITY. Perhaps that is the “key” to the “foundation” Hubby and I might have laid for “something like this to happen,” as my coworker put it.
If nothing else, I’ve always been responsible. Not that it was necessarily a choice: as the first-generation-American (and only) daughter of Italian immigrants, I was groomed for being so from the first English words that came out of my mouth. My work as a health care provider is responsibility after responsibility. And dealing with the ramifications of not fully understanding my part of my responsibilities in my first work setting led to growth (which, I promise, wasn’t without pain).
So, teaching responsibility, and EXPECTING my kids to BE responsible, are probably the two most foundation-building things I hope to have done along the way. (BTW, this applies to my students too, and something I sort-of drill, especially as kids vie for increased independence, which is typical as they grow. I’m also big on pushing the idea that freedom/privilege is WROUGHT with responsibility–think driving.)
We’ll talk about this more next week.
Thoughts? Ideas? Opinions? This ain’t about me telling my story, folks; it’s about parents sharing their experiences and problem-solving through the hiccups and rough spots, or inspiring us with jaw-dropping moments of whaa….?
Everyone’s input matters! Either you’re in the trenches–or survived them! Please take a moment and share in the comments or on Facebook. As soon as I get that danged Instagram thing together—setting it up has only been annoying with nothing to show for it to date—you’ll be able to post there too. (To the chagrin of my kids—Younger Son, in particular–who are not thrilled with mom sharing their platform, lol–which is why, I’m told, kids left Facebook. 😀 ) As always, if the content speaks to you, please pass it along via any of the buttons below!
Enjoy the (snow) day!
©Joanne C Timpano, OTR/L, content and images, unless otherwise specified, 2019.